Excellence in Automation: System Integrator of the Year Awards

For 2014, Control Engineering recognizes the best automation system integrators in the business.

By Vance VanDoren, PhD, PE December 16, 2013

Representing the 2014 System Integrators of the Year are (from left) Dr. Vladimir Morenko, Director General of Insist Avtomatika; Richard Seale, President of the Automation Business Unit at Wood Group Mustang; and Bijan Shams, President of Cogent IndustriSystem integrators were invited to compete for the title of System Integrator of the Year for 2014 during this past summer. Entrants submitted essays describing their company’s achievements in the areas of technical expertise, business skills, and customer satisfaction. Each chose to make its case according to its greatest strengths, but several addressed common themes including:

  • Successful projects that had previously proven too difficult for the client’s in-house engineers or another system integrator
  • Self-evaluations and in-house initiatives to formalize business procedures
  • Procedures for tracking customer satisfaction and redressing grievances.

Entries were divided into three groups with roughly equal numbers in each: integrators with annual revenues up to $10 million, $10 to $18 million, and above $18 million. Control Engineering’s panel of automation experts and industry observers then reviewed the entries in each group to determine three winners.

Judge Steve Rourke was impressed with the “skills, background, experience, and professionalism of all the entries,” making a definitive judgment difficult. But by focusing on certain key attributes (including customer philosophy; employee investment, training, and growth; and formal project processes), Rourke and the other judges rendered their verdicts. Entrants receiving at least one first-place vote were named finalists. The finalist receiving the most first-place votes in each revenue category was named System Integrator of the Year for that category.

Winning firms

And the winners are: Cogent Industrial Technologies Ltd. (up to $10 million annual revenue), Insist Avtomatika LLC ($10 to $18 million), and Wood Group Mustang (over $18 million). As in previous years, the 2014 System Integrators of the Year are a diverse lot with technical skills ranging from automation engineering to wireless networking, and industry experience from building automation to water and wastewater. See their profiles in this issue.

But this year’s honorees are even more diverse than ever before in that each hails from a different country – Cogent from Canada, Insist Avtomatika from Russia, and Mustang from the U.S. On the other hand, the most common of the common denominators shared by past winners—CSIA certification—was not as common this year. Only Insist Avtomatika has achieved CSIA certification, so far.

Cogent Industrial Technologies Ltd.

Representing the 2014 System Integrators of the Year in the up to $10 million annual revenue category is Bijan Shams, President of Cogent Industrial Technologies.Cogent Industrial Technologies Ltd. is the 2014 System Integrator of the Year in the “Up to $10 million annual revenue” category.

According to the company’s literature, Cogent Industrial Technologies offers plant-wide system design and integration services to ensure safe, reliable, and efficient operation of the automation systems it designs and implements, from greenfield projects to expansion and modernization. Every project’s goals of life expectancy and performance are designed into the system from the start.

And according to judge Shari Worthington, Cogent delivers on those promises. “For any engineering project, it’s all about the details. Cogent Industrial Technologies demonstrates their attention to detail throughout their organization. The define-design-build-operate project methodology has now been proven in a number of demanding applications, from busy airports to large utilities. Internal business systems track projects, analyze performance, and reward success. The company has also made a major commitment to corporate responsibility using a triple bottom line approach that balances business growth with attention to the environment and social responsibility.”

Judge Steve Rourke agreed. “Cogent has built a successful organization by combining their in-depth technical and project management experience with a strong desire to identify, define, and exceed customers’ project goals. They utilize a proven project methodology, an understanding of the latest manufacturing technologies, and a network of best-in-class partners to deliver on customer objectives. They have invested in HR and management systems and processes that track, reward, and develop internal personnel. And Cogent’s work has been recognized by local government officials and technology leaders as being among the top in the industry.”

Cogent client quote

One client for Cogent Industrial Technologies said:

“Cogent’s project team are some of the most committed and professional specialists I have ever had the pleasure of working with. They delivered beyond our expectations.”

Insist Avtomatika LLC

Representing the 2014 System Integrators of the Year in the $10 to $18 million category is Dr. Vladimir Morenko, Director General of Insist Avtomatika.Insist Avtomatika LLC is the 2014 System Integrator of the Year in the $10 to $18 million annual revenue category.

Three-time finalist Insist Avtomatika is the first System Integrator of the Year from outside North America. The company provides a full scope of project lifecycle services from design and development to commissioning. Since its founding in 1993, Insist Avtomatika has implemented over 400 automation and information systems that enable safe operation of Russia’s largest oil and gas fields, many in harsh and dangerous environments.

“Insist Avtomatika is a company dedicated to establishing and maintaining long-term relationships in a hard industry,” said judge Dennis Brandl. “Their continued growth over the last 20 years demonstrates a commitment to customer service and repeat customers. As a CSIA certified integrator since 2005 and ISA certified since 2006, they also show a commitment to independent reviews striving for excellence. Their customer recommendations consistently talk about the high professionalism and qualifications of their employees, and the overall high quality of their services.”

Judge Mark T. Hoske noted that Insist Avtomatika is also ISO certified and a member of the Automation Alliance Group, an international association of 14 independent companies that offer peer reviews of each others’ businesses. Hoske was also impressed with Insist Avtomatika’s steady growth for 20 years, the high praise the company has received from its clients, and its TRACE anti-bribery compliance.

“Insist Avtomatika left nothing to chance,” noted judge Vance VanDoren. “The entry demonstrated the attention they give to every detail of their operation—project management, documentation, implementation and maintenance issues, safety and labor measures, customer satisfaction, certifications, and an impressive technical toolkit, including manufacturing execution systems and advanced process control. Insist Avtomatika clearly deserves to be counted among the best of the best in the automation system integration industry.”

Insist client quote

One client for Insist Avtomatika LLC said (translated from the original Russian):

“The telemechanic system done by Insist Avtomatika specialists allowed implementing state-of-the-art engineering solutions for facility automation on budget and was positively assessed by experts. Note should be taken [of the] high professional level of Insist Avtomatika specialists showed by them at all stages of working, starting from the inspection of data transfer network and ending with putting it into commercial operation. Qualifications of Insist Avtomatika specialists allowed meeting challenges while developing data transfer line and kerosene pipeline industrial communications. Technical solutions on which the data transfer network of telemechanic system is built guarantee minimum maintenance costs, high reliability, and controllability.”

Wood Group Mustang

Representing the 2014 System Integrators of the Year in the over $18 million category is Richard Seale, President of the Automation Business Unit at Wood Group Mustang.Wood Group Mustang is the 2014 System Integrator of the Year in the “Over $18 million annual revenue” category.

The Automation and Control business unit of Wood Group Mustang is a repeat winner of System Integrator of the Year honors. Known as Mustang Automation & Control when the company won in 2010, Wood Group Mustang is now a division of the Wood Group, an independent services provider for the oil and gas and power generation markets.

Judge Don Roberts was particularly impressed with “the Mustang Automation and Control group’s ability to turn their quest to embody a culture that inspires super-motivated people to make heroes of clients, partners, vendors, and Mustangers into a thriving company culture.” He added, “It is especially true when you consider the growth they have experienced and the global coverage they have attained. Being part of a large publicly traded multinational group undoubtedly helps.”

Judge Bob Vavra also noted Mustang’s sense of teamwork. “One of the most impressive things about Wood Group Mustang is that at a time of rapid expansion in the oil and gas market, they are able to keep pace with current integration projects while innovating their automation offering to the market. Some of this is building better equipment; some of it is building the right team to implement solutions. Put together, they deliver great solutions for their customers.”

Mustang client quote

One client for Wood Group Mustang said:

“Job well done. [Your team] demonstrated much passion, excellence, and dedication despite having one of the less glamorous tasks (OPC) on the job and having to deal with a cast of characters that would challenge a saint.”

Finalists for 2014

Five other entrants were recognized as finalists by receiving at least one first-place vote from the judges. Those finalists and a summary of their respective specialties follow.

  • Applied Control Engineering: process control, manufacturing automation, and system integration in the chemical, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, metals, and mining industries.
  • EPIC Systems: modular process plants and systems, integrated packaging and assembly lines, custom machinery manufacturing, and machine vision system integration.
  • Industrial Automation Group: process, control, safety, information, and control panel expertise specific to the food and beverage industry.
  • Intech Process Automation: automation and control systems for the upstream, midstream, and downstream oil and gas sector.
  • Malisko Engineering: manufacturing automation and validation services for production facilities in the food and beverage, and pharmaceutical and life science markets.

All entrants documented their qualifications for the title of System Integrator of the Year. Client quotes from the winning entries are excerpted from each winner’s customer testimonials.

For more about the finalists and the three winners, see the featured listings in this issue or see this expanded article, online.

Judges for 2014

Volunteer judges for the 2014 System Integrator of the Year Awards are:

  • Paul Barnard, insurance program manager for the CSIA and president of Taylor Gembridge financial advisors
  • Bob Vavra, content manager for Plant Engineering
  • Mark T. Hoske, content manager for Control Engineering
  • Dennis Brandl, president and founder of BR&L Consulting and a Control Engineering columnist focusing on manufacturing IT
  • Don Roberts, auditor for the CSIA and principal of Exotek, a management-consulting firm focused on the engineering and systems integration industry
  • Steve Rourke, CEO/COO/Co-Founder of CFE Media, parent company of Plant Engineering, Control Engineering, and Consulting-Specifying Engineer
  • Vance VanDoren, PhD, PE, contributing content specialist for Control Engineering and editor of the Automation Integrator Guide
  • Shari Worthington, president of Telesian Technology, a marketing and e-business services firm specializing in the industrial automation market 

For more than 20 years, Control Engineering has published the Automation Integrator Guide to help readers find the design and implementation services they need for their industrial automation and control projects. This year’s featured listings provide more information about 305 of nearly 2500 system integrators in the online edition of the Automation Integrator Guide.  

– Vance VanDoren, PhD, PE, is contributing content specialist for Control Engineering and editor of the Automation Integrator Guide. Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering, Plant Engineering, and Consulting-Specifying Engineer, mhoske@cfemedia.com.

Key concepts

  • Control Engineering judges select annual System Integrators of the Year.
  • Three categories are based on annual revenue.
  • The 2014 winners and finalists are listed here.

Consider this

  • What qualifications do you find most important when hiring someone for automation services?

Online Extras

Control Engineering System Integrator Hall of Fame contains link to prior System Integrator of the Year Award winners.

Learn more about the System Integrator winners on the next page.

Page 2 of 2

This posted version of this article includes more information about each winning system integrator below, expanding upon information provided in the print and digital edition article.

Cogent Industrial Technologies Ltd.

Year Founded: 2005

Annual Revenue: $1-5 million

13091 Vanier Place – Unit 180

Richmond, BC V6V 2J1 Canada


Industries Served: automation/control, building automation, metals, power, processing, utilities, water/wastewater, wood products, pulp/paper, energy—general, mining/minerals

Areas Served: Canada; USA in DE, MD, VA, WV, NC, SC, GA, FL; Europe; South America

Engineering Specialties: automation—general, building automation, data collection/reporting, data processing/management, electrical engineering, energy management, human-machine interfaces, information systems, installation/start-up, international projects, networking/communications, PLCs, process control, project management, safety/security systems, SCADA, supervisory control, systems engineering, Web technology, factory automation, project planning, simulation/modeling, training/education, wireless, industrial engineering, C/C++, CEMS, MES, plant performance monitoring

Product Experience, Allen-Bradley, Rockwell Automation, Rockwell Software, Siemens, Wonderware, Cisco Systems, Citect, Microsoft, OSIsoft, AspenTech, Schneider Electric, Pilz, Rittal, Sick Optics, Triconex, Weidmuller, Yokogawa

Corporate Affiliations: Not applicable

Professional Affiliations: CSIA

Corporate Resume: Cogent Industrial Technologies provides Electrical, Controls and IT system design and integration services to industrial operations and facilities. From greenfield to modernization projects, Cogent’s services and solutions deliver a safe, reliable and efficient operation and empower your people to manage and improve operational effectiveness.

Insist Avtomatika, LLC

Year Founded: 1993

Annual Revenue: $10-25 million

18/1a, Marx. St.

Omsk, 644042 Russia


Industries Served: oil/gas, chemical/petrochemical, communications, metals, petroleum, tires, utilities, food/beverage, pipelines, power

Areas Served: Europe, Middle East

Engineering Specialties: automation—general, control panels, distributed control systems (DCS), process control, project management, data processing/management, designs/specifications, human-machine interfaces, installation/start-up, maintenance/repair, MES, networking/communications, PLCs, SCADA, Web technology, advanced control, CAD/CAM/documentation, ERP, information systems, turnkey systems, wireless, training/education.

Product Experience: Allen-Bradley, Emerson Process Management, OSIsoft, Rockwell Automation, Wonderware, Pepperl + Fuchs, Phoenix Contact, Rittal, ABB, AutomationDirect, Control Microsystems, GE Intelligent Platforms, Microsoft, Omron Electronics, Oracle, Schneider Electric, Weidmuller, Mettler Toledo, Siemens, Yokogawa

Corporate Affiliations: Emerson Process Management, Microsoft, OSIsoft, Rockwell Automation, Siemens, Wonderware

Professional Affiliations: CSIA certified, CSIA, ISA Automation Alliance Group (AAG)

Corporate Resume: Industrial Automation Systems (Insist Avtomatika LLC) is an engineering company offering a full scope of services for development and implementation of automation solutions and information systems for customers in oil and gas, metallurgy, power and other industries. Since its foundation in 1993 Insist Avtomatika has been working as a process automation contractor on large Russian oil and gas fields development projects. Among the company’s customers are major Russian and international oil and gas companies. Insist Avtomatika has headquarters with main production facilities located in Omsk (Russia) and representative offices in Moscow (Russia), Vladivostok (Russia), Houston, TX (USA), and Sharjah (UAE). Insist Avtomatika is the only Russian member of the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA).

Wood Group Mustang

Year Founded: 1987

Annual Revenue: Over $50 million

16001 Park Ten Place

Houston, TX 77084 United States


Industries Served: automation/control, chemical/petrochemical, offshore, oil/gas, petroleum, communications, environmental, mining/minerals, pipelines, power, biotechnology, cogeneration, consumer products, engineering/construction, pulp/paper, specialty chemicals, aluminum, automotive, discrete manufacturing, energy—general, food/beverage, manufacturing—general, pharmaceuticals, processing, textiles/fibers, utilities

Areas Served: USA: AK, WA, OR, CA, HI; AR, LA, OK, TX; DE, MD, VA, WV, NC, SC, GA, FL; KY, TN, AL, MS, ME, NH, VT, MA, RI, CT; MN, IA, MO, ND, SD, NE, KS; MT, ID, WY, CO, NM, AZ, UT, NV; NY, NJ, PA; OH, IN, IL ,MI, WI; Canada; Central America; Middle East; South America; Asia; Caribbean; Europe; European Union

Engineering Specialties: automation—general, distributed control systems (DCS), human-machine interfaces, installation/start-up, process control, project management, project planning, safety/security systems, 21 CFR Part 11, advanced control, data collection/reporting, information systems, instrumentation/data acquisition, international projects, MES, regulatory compliance, SCADA, supervisory control, blending, CAD/CAM/documentation, combustion engineering, control panels, data processing/management, designs/specifications, energy management, environmental engineering, financial analysis, manufacturing planning, networking/communications, PLCs, process engineering, signal process/conditioning, simulation/modeling, systems engineering, Web technology, wireless, analyzer systems, CEMS chemical engineering, civil/structural engineering, computer software, construction/architecture, discrete control, enclosures, ERP, field service, petroleum engineering

Product Experience: Allen-Bradley, AspenTech, Autodesk, Bently Nevada, Emerson Industrial Automation, Emerson Process Management, Foxboro, Honeywell, OSIsoft, Rockwell Automation, Rockwell Software, Triconex, Wonderware, ABB, Cisco Systems, Citect, Dell, Endress + Hauser, GE Intelligent Platforms, Invensys, MatrikonOPC, Oracle, Pepperl + Fuchs, Schneider Electric, Siemens, Yokogawa, Eurotherm, IBM, Iconics, Microsoft, Toshiba, Weidmuller

Corporate Affiliations: Allen-Bradley, Honeywell, ABB, AspenTech, Bently Nevada, Cisco Systems, Foxboro, GE Intelligent Platforms, Rockwell Automation, Rockwell Software, Wonderware, Yokogawa, Emerson Process Management, Invensys, Microsoft, OSIsoft, Triconex, Weidmuller

Professional Affiliations, Control Engineering System Integrator Hall of Fame, CSIA, CSIA certified, ISA, ACS, AIChE, API, ASME, AWMA a, IMS/IEEE

Corporate Resume: Wood Group Mustang is a leader in providing engineering, specification, integration and implementation of control, automation, and information systems to the process industries. Wood Group Mustang delivers projects to your schedule, managing multiple and diverse technologies, automation, maintenance and business system integration and lifecycle costs. The company’s vendor-independent approach allows them to objectively assist in the selection process of the major controls hardware and software in order to maximize your facility’s operating efficiency, reliability, and productivity. Also, as part of a large engineering company, they have the internal knowledge and resources to offer clients a single-source solution, from concept to commissioning and startup.

Link to video advice from these representatives of these three System Integrator of the Year winners.